Emergency Department wait times surge under Malinauskas Labor Government

Monday 27 March 2023
Emergency Department wait times surge under Malinauskas Labor Government

Emergency Department wait times have exploded to unprecedented levels over the past year, with an almost 70 per cent increase in the time sick patients are being forced to wait for a bed.

SA Health data - analysed by the Opposition has for the first time revealed last month’s ED wait times surged by 69.2% when compared to February 2022.

In February 2022, sick patients across Adelaide’s major hospitals in total spent 4870 minutes waiting for a bed over a 12-day period.

In February 2023, sick patients across Adelaide’s major hospitals spent in total a whopping 8242 minutes waiting for a bed over a 12-day period.

The Opposition is calling on the Malinauskas Labor Government to explain the surge and publish all Emergency Department wait time data permanently for South Australians to see.

On February 7 last month, there was in total a 1875-minute wait in EDs across our seven metropolitan hospitals. Modbury Hospital had the longest wait at 901 minutes, equivalent to 15 hours.

Today is another busy day across Adelaide emergency departments with wait times at Lyell McEwin Hospital more than five hours and more than three hours at Flinders Medical Centre at 9am this morning.

The huge increase comes off the back of the revelation that Peter Malinauskas’ government has formalised a “fit to sit” policy which means sick patients, who can sit upright, are transferred out of ramped ambulances and put into overcrowded emergency departments.

In a bombshell, Peter Malinauskas last week desperately attempted to walk away from Labor’s key election promise to “fix ramping”.

Leader of the Opposition David Speirs said Peter Malinauskas must explain the shocking surge in ED wait times under Labor.

“We know the Malinauskas Labor Government has a policy called ‘fit to sit’ and it could be that the huge 69 per cent surge in ED wait times is linked to the Premier’s decision to shuffle ramped ambulance patients into overcrowded emergency departments,” Mr Speirs said.

“Peter Malinauskas promised to ‘fix ramping’ and not only is that worse than ever, but emergency department wait times have also blown out of control.

“Put simply, this means when South Australians require urgent medical attention, they may be forced to wait hours and hours.

“Peter Malinauskas needs to explain to South Australians why the huge surge in ED wait times has occurred under his government.”

Shadow Minister for Health, Ashton Hurn, said the new data was alarming for South Australians, and called for Peter Malinauskas to commit to publishing the Emergency Department wait time data permanently on the SA Health website.

“The pressure is starting to bite for Labor and Peter Malinauskas over the past week as they’ve desperately tried to rewrite history on their central election promise to fix ramping,” said Mrs Hurn.

“This snapshot in time shows that South Australians are waiting longer than ever before for a bed – and frankly, we can understand the patience of South Australians is running out.

“It is unreasonable for Labor to continually cherry-pick their favoured statistics for strategic release – South Australians need every piece of the puzzle so they can judge for themselves whether Peter Malinauskas is delivering on his promise to fix ramping and fix health.

“The government has got to start being up front and honest about the challenges in our health system.”